This free Bible lesson is based on Matthew 22:34-46 where Jesus teaches about “The Greatest Commandment.” It is designed for children’s church or Sunday School. Please modify as best fits your ministry.
If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary, this teaching plan would correspond to Year A – 20th Sunday After Pentecost, Gospel Reading – Matthew 22:34-46.
Opening Activity – All About Love – Love Messages
In this variation of Telephone, the kids will send messages 3 different ways.
- Phone Call – Have the kids sit in a circle and very quietly whisper one of the following messages in one child’s ear. Instruct them to quietly pass that message along until it comes back to you. Invite the final recipient to say it out loud to see if the message changed.
- I love to show love to the people I love.
- You love me and I love you, but who’s going to love the kangaroo?
- L.O.V.E. that spells love for you and me.
- Text Message – Have kids line up in a single file line all facing the same direction (break up into groups of 5-8 if you have a large group). Give the last person in line one of the following words, and have them spell that word on the back of the person standing in front of them using their finger. See how long it takes to send out the correct message.
- No Words – Give a volunteer one of the following songs to hum or whistle and see if any of the kids can figure it out.
- Jesus Loves the Little Children
- I Love You, You Love Me (the “Barney” song)
- Jesus Loves Me
- His Banner Over Me is Love
Lesson – All About Love
Before we get started, there are a few actions you need to know. When I say ‘LOVE’ I need you to cross your arms over your chest like your giving yourself a great big hug. When I say ‘HEART’ I need you to make a heart shape with your hands. When I say ‘SOUL’ I need you to point both thumbs at your chest. When I say ‘MIND’ I need you to put your hands on your head. And when I say ‘NEIGHBOR’ I need you to point at anyone else in the room. Now let’s get started.
The Bible has a lot to say about LOVE. It tells you God LOVES you. It tells you that God wants you to LOVE him. It tells you to LOVE your NEIGHBOR.
There is so much in the Bible about LOVE that some people call it a LOVE letter.
A long time ago when Jesus was on earth, people thought the Bible was just about rules. Do this. Don’t do that. Say this. Wear that. Go here. Worship there.
Rule after rule after rule.
There was a little bit about LOVE, but there were so many rules that was all people cared about.
But LOVE was all Jesus cared about. He came here to show each one of us just how much He LOVES us. He LOVES us so much that even died for our sins so we can live with Him forever and always.
There were a whole bunch of people who really liked Jesus’ message of LOVE, but there were also a bunch of people who really liked the rules. They thought following the rules was all that mattered, but they forgot that everyone makes mistakes sometimes and disobeys those rules. And then what?!? Is that it? One broken rule and it’s all over?
No way! Jesus came so that even when we make mistakes, He can save us. It’s such an amazing way to show just how much He LOVES us.
One day the rule followers wanted to know what Jesus thought was the most important one of all. If we could only ever follow one single rule, which one would it be? They expected Jesus to say one of the 10 Commandments; like obeying your parents, or keeping the Sabbath a day only for God. But Jesus had an even better one. The best rule of all, and it’s all bout LOVE.
Jesus said, “LOVE the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your MIND. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: LOVE your NEIGHBOR as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40 NIV
Jesus turned all of those rules into just two simple ones. LOVE God. And LOVE others.
When you keep the Sabbath as a day for Jesus, that’s a way of loving Him. And when you obey your parents, that’s a way of loving them. Every single rule can fit into one of those two. It was so simple.
Now what do you think it means to LOVE God with all your HEART, SOUL, and MIND? It really just means that you LOVE Him completely. So you can’t just say you LOVE God, or just put money in the offering, or just listen to the sermon; you need to LOVE God all the time and in every way.
And thankfully, Jesus LOVES us so much that forgives us when we forget to LOVE Him and our NEIGHBORS like we should. Which is great news, because everyone could use a little more LOVE.
Activity A – All About Love – Bible Verse Challenge
Supplies – Bibles
Verse – Matthew 22:37
Pass out Bibles to students. Bibles should be closed and sitting on the table face up in front of each child. When you say go, have the kids look up this week’s Bible verse. As each child finds the verse, have them stick one finger on the verse and quietly raise their other hand. The first one to find the verse gets to read it to the rest of the class.
Help younger kids and new kids find the verse by following these steps.
- Look in the Table of Contents for the book you are looking for. Make an effort to show them if it is found in the Old Testament or New Testament to help them in the future. Then open the Bible to the page number listed in the Table of Contents.
- Show them the large numbers in the text, known as the chapters. Flip through pages until you find the large chapter number you are looking for.
- Then scan through the text with them pointing out the smaller verse numbers until the correct number is found.
Activity B – All About Love
Supplies – large piece of poster paper, tape, writing/drawing utensils
Lay out two large pieces of paper and ask volunteers to lay down one their backs so you can trace them. Once you have a basic outline tape them to the wall (just off the ground), and write “Loving God” on the first one, and “Loving Others” on the second one. Then ask a volunteer to come forward and draw/color each of the following body parts while you come up with ways that you can use them to show love. Then see if they can think of another body part they can use to show love.
- Ears (example: listening when others are talking, listening in church)
- Eyes (example: paying attention to others needs, reading the Bible)
- Nose & Mouth (example: singing hymns and praise music, speaking kind words)
- Mind (example: learning about Jesus, thinking of new ways to help)
- Heart (example: praying to God, telling your parents you love them)
- Hands (example: holding the door, cleaning up the sanctuary)
- Feet (example: going on mission trips, walking with someone to their car)
Optional – Coloring Page
- Download our free Love God coloring page
Closing Prayer – All About Love
Ask for a volunteer to pray for the class before leaving, and encourage them to tell God they love Him, and ask Him to help them show that love to others.
For more inspiration, don’t miss these related ideas from our website:
- “Love Your Neighbor” Coloring Page Activity (Matthew 22:39)
- “Love is… ” Coloring page from 1 Corinthians 13
- Love Your Neighbor Sunday School Lesson
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